Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Championing, Not Lamenting Our Differences

I was privileged to attend an NCAA basketball tournament game this week watching one of my favorite teams from another part of the country play in my current hometown. And because we had very good seats I got to see the players up close and personal most of the time.

However, I was reminded that not every player has the same responsibilities. I saw the shooters hitting short and long jump shots. Others spent most of their time dribbling and passing off to others while some played a lot of minutes and didn't score a point.

They had different abilities, styles and roles in getting the win. The same will always be true in families - husbands, wives and kids. They're all different. Their roles will not be identical nor will their abilities or personalities be alike.

Unfortunately many spouses and parents bemoan the differences in one another or at best refuse to account for them. They want all their kids to be athletes or musicians. They expect their happy-go-lucky spouse to be as ordered and meticulous as they are. We often don't realize that God actually knew what He was doing when he made us unique at least in part so that we might complement one another and fill in for many of our weaknesses.

So what would it look like for us to be champions for our family differences as opposed to critics. First, we would bless one another by speaking to those uniquenesses. "Mark, one of the things mom and I appreciate about you is that you love doing things really well. Sometimes, you can overdo it but you know most of the time you actually help the rest of us do better."

Or, "Honey, I so value that you love being around people. If it weren't for you I wouldn't have a social life and I know we need that. Thank you for planning so many great things even though there are times we disagree and have to work through what's realistic."  Get the idea?

Second, we would let go of the "my kids have to" mentality. Sure, if we see potential then it's realistic to make sure we give them opportunities to learn to blossom. But too many kids are being pushed into sports, music lessons and other activities that have long shown to have not aptitude or interest in them.  As a result our family is just busier and if you're married, you and your spouse merely spend more time on the road and in the stands accomplishing little.

Third, we would enjoy the unique things that each person does and naturally talk about and applaud them. You'll celebrate that mom went back to school, that John isn't an athlete but loves serving at an old folks home and that your daughter loves debate and not cheerleading.

Aa a result you will likely have more margin in your home for rest, quiet and relaxation because you're not trying to have everyone do everything. And that is worth a fortune. 
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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